Ughhhh

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Friends. This is a page in my university magazine with cropped version of my graduation photo where I am shaking hands with the President of the university and receiving my (fake) diploma.

Most people would be excited about this right? Well I’m not.

My uni is predominately white, upper middle class students and the campus climate is not always welcoming for students like me. This photo is attached to an article about the opening of the university’s Center of Inclusion and Diversity earlier this year. It includes no student input, no quotes from the women of color who work their asses off in this office and are the backbone of our support system, or the fact that there is an Assistant Provost of Inclusion and Diversity.

See the thing is, while this center is new, the office has always been there. During my four years it was called The Office of Multicultural Life and we were crammed in a small corner of the student center where no one could ever find us. I’m grateful that future students now have more space and the center itself has more publicity. But at the end of the day, my mentors that run this office still don’t get the recognition that they deserve. And many people on campus (students and administrators) don’t care about making campus better for underrepresented students.

Even the man that I’m shaking hands with (yeah, the president) does not understand how important this office is. He is a wealthy white man and he doesn’t get it. Not only does he not get it but he doesn’t care. Of course he says he does, but we know that he doesn’t.

So yeah. Just thought I’d share that with you all.

~Rae


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About Bookmark Chronicles

Hi! I'm Rae. 23. Avid Reader, Book Blogger. Intersectional Feminist. Gryffindor.
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13 Responses to Ughhhh

  1. thewisegreek says:

    Could you elaborate please? I’m going to be graduating high school soon, and I’m going to a community college due to the fact that most colleges cost so much. I’m not yet aware of how frustrating it might be for someone invest money into college and not get the results they wanted.

    What I’m trying to figure out is, is there something your college is currently doing to put you and your coworkers at a disadvantage? From what I’ve read on your post, they seem to be improving the center and giving it more attention. Is there anything else in the magazine that talks about this topic?

    Like

    • First I encourage you to read my previous post on this https://bookmarkchronicles.wordpress.com/2016/04/21/raes-rules-to-remember-19-the-importance-of-inclusion-and-diversity/

      Second, my point is that just because the president implemented this change doesn’t mean that he actually cares about inclusion and diversity. He doesn’t. My issue is with saying that you care about or support something but doing nothing about it. Like I said this office has always been there. One of the foundations of the uni is “appreciate diversity” yet he never comes to our events, during our first discussion with him he tried to sweep a lot of issues that we presented under the rug. He had to be prompted to write a statement after the Orlando shooting for out LGBT students who have a huge presence on campus.
      The article was written just to have something to talk about. No real research was done. The people that actually do this work weren’t even notified that this article was being written. So yeah the physical space has been improved and there’s publicity but its being treated as a “one and done” thing. They gave us more space so they don’t give a damn anymore. They never even notified the student body about the new Assistant Provost. So in actuality this doesn’t help underrepresented students any more than giving them a place of support which they already knew was there. Not much has changed other than physical space. Students are still harassed in their dorms and apartments, administrators and professors still say and do things that are inappropriate and offensive to their students. You can’t just say that you’re all about supporting students and making them feel comfortable, make a huge show of it one time, and then walk away. That’s not how it works.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thewisegreek says:

        Sorry, I wasn’t aware of your other post, school has kept me busying so I only get the chance to read some here and there. I like where your going with this and I hope University actually does do something to help you. I’ve been using reading to try and put myself in another person’s shoes, but I’ve still got a lot to learn. Your other post really helped me learn that I don’t always see what my friends are going through.
        I used to go to church and some of my friends made fun of the LGBT community, but some of my school friends were bisexual, gay etc. It put me in a really uncomfortable situation, but I eventually got rid of some of my church friends.
        I’m trying to learn to include more people that different from me, but I wasn’t exactly brought up that way. The problem was that people repeated lies to me in tell I thought those lies weren’t true. I may not have completely broken away from it, but now I’m starting to realize that all of those things they told me weren’t true.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No worries, I just figured that older post would help with the background info on the situation.
        When you start uni I recommend that you find organizations that can help you learn about, understand, and be an ally to others. Most universities have student organizations that can help you do that. When I was in school I was Safe Zoned Trained – teaches you the different LGBTQIA+ identities and pronouns along with things that you should and should not say – I joined Active Minds, an organization that raised awareness about mental illness on college campuses and I was the president of an org called Bridging the Gap that focused on diversity and teaching people that it’s not only appearances that can be diverse and brought people together.
        Things like that will definitely help.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. thebookcorps says:

    That sucks. To have this entire article talking about how great this new office is and then to not interview any of the students who utilise its facilities? And to not talk about the people who work in the office? That’s cold. When you say that no one was informed of that this article was being written kind of reinforces the idea that white people need to talk about POC issues on behalf of POC. They’re kind of inserting themselves in a space meant for POC and making it all about them and being like, “Look at all the great work we’re going,” but they’re actually not doing anything?
    (I’m in an angry social justice mood at the moment because I’m writing an essay about racism in YA for uni, which I want to put up on my blog once I get my grade back.)
    I can imagine that the President wouldn’t care much either. He was probably told to just show up, shake a few hands and act like it was all his idea, even though you mention the room had been there for years and was just called something different.
    And don’t worry, I know the feeling about being at a uni like that. I am white so I do recognise the privilege I have, but my uni is a Liberal uni. In Australia that means that it holds the ideals of the Liberal party who are the Australian version of the Republicans. (Ironic that they’re called Liberals, right?) My uni is doing better – I almost fell off my seat at Graduation when they commenced the ceremony by recognising the traditional landowners (Indigenous Australians) –
    but the people in charge of the uni – the president, provost, etc. – were all men, maybe 1 woman, and certainly no people of colour, even though they spent a good few minutes acknowledging Indigenous people (which is what everyone does when holding a meeting in a public space).
    Disappointing, but I can’t say I’m all that surprised which is a real shame. We can only hope they do better. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for understanding my frustration.I can’t explain to you how much it means to me that you get it and, like you said, can recognize your own privilege.
      So looking forward to reading your uni assignment if you put it up, I’m sure you did great!!
      You’re absolutely right. He was asked to come to the grand opening of the new space and cut the ribbon to officially open it and he said nothing about the office, the progress of it or anything but instead said, “This is the first ribbon I’ve cut in my life” No lie, that’s an exact quote.
      Ooh I know nothing of Australian politics so thanks for the mini lesson, that’s so interesting how are parties are sort of flipped.
      Glad that they at least mentioned the Indigenous history. I’ve heard Indigenous Australians are treated much like Native Americans: treated less than human, history practically erased and often just flat out ignored. 😦
      It’s only been 3 months since the opening of the new space but the President hasn’t been back since. We asked him to announce to the student body that we would be getting an Assistant Provost for Inclusion and Diversity, she’s been there for 8 months and he still hasn’t.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thebookcorps says:

        “This is the first ribbon I’ve cut in my life.” Mate, are you for real? Smh.
        Australian politics is weird as hell. There’s almost no difference anymore between our two major parties but I will always be a Labor supporter (like the Democrats).
        The way the Indigenous Australians were treated was terrible and there are still many people who don’t believe they were treated that bad. Yes, they were treated much the same way Native Americans were: There is literally an entire generation called the Stolen Generation, because young Indigenous children and babies were taken from their families and raised with white people because the government wanted to try to erase Aboriginal ethnicity. They wanted to assimilate these children into white culture in an effort to, eventually and over many years, make Aboriginal people extinct. Absolutely disgusting.
        Doesn’t at all surprise me that the President hasn’t been back. It’s sad to say that many uni leaders would just see events and things like this as an excuse to look good, and then never do anything else because they did that “one good thing.” Shame.
        My uni just renamed a building because the man they had originally named it after did gruesome experiments on Indigenous people, LGBT people, homeless people, mentally ill people and people who had intellectual disabilities, back in the 40s-60s, I think. Took a group of people many years to finally get the uni to change the name, and I just found out there are some other buildings named after men who did the same thing, too. Still a long fight.
        I guess dealing with uni leaders is never going to be easy! 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yup, The Stolen Generation is similar to what happened here. They out the children into these boarding schools, made them change their names and pretty much wiped out their culture. And of course they hardly ever put that information into textbooks, they just act like they didn’t do anything.
        The name change is a start, hopefully they’ll change the rest of them too but that will probably be a long battle.
        I just don’t understand how people can accept a position at a university and not care about students. At least our former president was present.

        Liked by 1 person

      • thebookcorps says:

        It’s disgraceful, isn’t it.
        I can only hope it gets better for you and other students! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. ashley says:

    It’s amazing that you got a new space, but horrible that your office isn’t getting the attention that it needs and deserves. I know I’m white and privileged, but the way the president has treated your office is unjust and wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: April Wrap Up! 2017 | bookmarkchronicles

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